Windy City Times reports:
A Far South Side grade school will not co-host a haunted house that contained, among other depictions, a representation of the June 2016 shootings at the Pulse nightclub, according to CPS officials. Fernwood Elementary School, 10041 S. Union Ave., was advertised by promoters as the location of a haunted house entitled The Room: A Journey to Hell that was scheduled to take place the evenings of Oct. 29 and Oct. 30. Fernwood was also initially listed as a co-sponsor of the event.
Advertised as a “Christian interactive experience,” the event is produced by Tyrone Tappler Productions. On Aug. 31, the company asked on Facebook for volunteers who’d depict the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting: “Club Pulse, Dancers, Victims … CAGED PEOPLE/SCREAMERS, Extras needed trying to escape a cage! … SOUNDS INTERESTING? COME OUT THIS SATURDAY!!!”
Among other scenarios reportedly depicted in the haunted house were a botched abortion and the 2015 Charleston church shooting. According to the ticket sales page, The Room “is a real life haunted house. Guests will experience IN YOUR FACE scenes of dark reality. … You will walk in 10 Rooms and encounter individuals who will make choices. The choice is life or death; sin or salvation; heaven or hell. The scenes will be action-packed, real and jaw dropping.”
The “event” which is obviously a take on traditional Christian “hell houses” which are haunted attractions typically run by evangelical Christian churches or parachurch organizations. They depict real-life situations of what they consider sin and the torments of the damned in Hell, and usually conclude with a depiction of Heaven.
After discovering what they were planning to do, a spokesperson for the Chicago Public Schools said that the event would no longer take place at the elementary school that was rented out for the occasion:
CPS spokesman Michael Passman told Windy City Times in an Oct. 28 email that the event will not take place at Fernwood.
“The event organizers mischaracterized the true content of the event, and we did not approve any association with the activities the organizers have now advertised,” said Passman. “The event will not be held on CPS property.”
In 2001 a documentary was directed by George Ratliff that focuses on the idea of a hell house, a Christian-themed haunted attraction, in Cedar Hill, Texas. The film follows the youth group of the Cedar Hill Trinity Church, documenting the work involved in creating the hell house, the performances themselves, and the personal lives of some of the participants.
You can watch the trailer below to get an idea of what a Hell House really is.